Weird pictures of Napoleon

We’ve all seen the classic pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte: riding across the Alps, sitting on his imperial throne, standing with a hand in his waistcoat. Here are some less well-known pictures of Napoleon that are downright weird.

The artist didn’t have a clue

As discussed in my post about what Napoleon really looked like, many Napoleonic artists did not have Napoleon as a model. The McGill University Napoleon Collection contains a rich assortment of prints that suffer from this handicap.

Buonaparte engraved by W. Bromley after an original drawing from Italy, 1797, copyright McGill University

Buonaparte engraved by W. Bromley after an original drawing from Italy, 1797, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte in profile, wearing his general's uniform, by Francisco Prato, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte in profile, wearing his general’s uniform, by Francisco Prato, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, painted by Bonerell at Paris, engraved by P. Dawe (London), 1800, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, painted by Bonerell at Paris, engraved by P. Dawe (London), 1800, copyright McGill University

Napoleon in profile by Croizier, 1806, copyright McGill University

Napoleon in profile by Croizier, 1806, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, from a frontispiece, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, from a frontispiece, copyright McGill University

Off kilter

Though these artists came closer to approximating traditional portraits of Napoleon, there is still something odd about their depictions.

Perhaps it’s the baby blue eyes.

Napoleon at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York

Napoleon at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York

The hair, mouth and chin?

Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, by A.J. Gros Pinxt/W. Dickinson based on the portrait by Gros, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, by A.J. Gros Pinxt/W. Dickinson based on the portrait by Gros, copyright McGill University

Lipstick?

Napoleon Bonaparte, based on the portrait by David, copyright McGill University

Napoleon Bonaparte, based on the portrait by David, copyright McGill University

Those eyes.

I was induced to give a Plate of Napoleon, which is copied from the French engraving, because, I consider myself as perfectly Master of his Lineaments, and I think it the most decided Likeness that has been given of him. (1)

Napoleon Bonaparte, frontispiece from William Warden, Letters Written on Board His Majesty’s Ship the Northumberland and at St. Helena (London, 1816)

Napoleon Bonaparte, frontispiece from William Warden, Letters Written on Board His Majesty’s Ship the Northumberland and at St. Helena (London, 1816)

Lost in idealization

Would you recognize Napoleon (hair on fire) if you didn’t know it was him?

Allégorie du Concordat de 1801 (Allegory of the Concordat), by Pierre Joseph Célestin François, 1802

Allégorie du Concordat de 1801 (Allegory of the Concordat), by Pierre Joseph Célestin François

Napoleon the wounded gymnast.

Napoléon blessé devant Ratisbonne, by Pierre Gautherot. Napoleon, wounded in the foot at the Battle of Ratisbon on April 23, 1809, attempts to mount a horse while being treated by the surgeon Yvan.

Napoléon blessé devant Ratisbonne, by Pierre Gautherot. Napoleon, wounded in the foot at the Battle of Ratisbon on April 23, 1809, attempts to mount a horse while being treated by the surgeon Yvan.

Admittedly, it’s Napoleon’s poor son who comes off worst in this effort.

Napoleon I, Marie Louise and the King of Rome by Alexandre Menjaud, 1812

Napoleon I, Marie Louise and the King of Rome by Alexandre Menjaud, 1812

Silly captions are welcome in the comments.

You might also enjoy:

What did Napoleon look like?

10 Interesting Facts about Napoleon Bonaparte

What did Napoleon like to read?

What did Napoleon like to eat and drink?

What was Napoleon’s favourite music?

Was Napoleon superstitious?

  1. William Warden, Letters Written on Board His Majesty’s Ship the Northumberland and at St. Helena, (London, 1816), p. vii.

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I was induced to give a Plate of Napoleon, which is copied from the French engraving, because, I consider myself as perfectly Master of his Lineaments, and I think it the most decided Likeness that has been given of him.

William Warden